Assessment Submission Success

At the most recent Academic Board, a new Assessment and Feedback Strategy was approved. This has been part of my work as VP Education this year, having been a major part of my manifesto as VP Education, and I am here to tell you how it is going to positively impact your experience!

The big win

Alongside College, we have been working on creating a student experience that is accessible for all students, particularly working to rectify the problems that commuting students face. We have been working with Professor Bob O’Keefe (Vice Principal Student Experience) who has carried out work into the issues currently facing commuting students – assessment submission has been a large part of this. Whilst work on the other recommendations is still to come, I am incredibly glad that work on assessment submission is well underway.

What does this mean for me?

There are a couple of main areas of the strategy: assessment principles; assessment timing; assessment methods & assessment submission. Previously, the most updated piece of work covering all of this was way back in 2012, so it has been incredibly important to review these elements of assessment and bring it all under a strategy.

  • Assessment Principles – before establishing a strategy, it is integral that certain principles or values are outlined to shape said strategy. Not only does this cover the basic demands, but the new strategy highlights how assessment should be for students to demonstrate, and improve, their knowledge and skills. Previously, the approach to assessments has been largely focused on a module level, which can often restrict the approach. This new strategy places emphasis on the whole course and how all of the assessment works together.
  • Assessment Timing – the strategy also places focus on the timing of assessment. Too often we hear of students having too many assessments at one time, with a lack of information beforehand. This issue has been tackled at all levels this year, from Staff-Student Committees to Periodic Department Reviews, and I am glad that it has been included in this strategy.
  • Assessment Methods – I have always believed that assessments at university should prepare you for your career. This predominately means that there needs to be flexibility in assessment. More work needs to be done, but this strategy firmly states that assessments should be providing students with a range of skills that are needed in the world after university.
  • Assessment Submission – this is a huge step forward. Currently, the University still hasn’t moved into the 21st Century for certain things, and assessment submission is certainly one of them. The new strategy has set out that, where appropriate, assessment submission is digital only!

Why is all of this important?

Particularly with the assessment submission, this development is huge! Earlier this year, I conducted some research into assessments at the university and at the moment, there is an inconsistent blended model. The majority of modules at the moment require both a physical copy and a digital copy – this not only isn’t good for the environment, but also pushes the burden of printing on you! Currently, just under 60% of departments have some element of a physical copy submission – and you have given us the clear message that this isn’t what you want.

It costs you money and time that quite frankly shouldn’t be your burden.

Of course, there are some assessments that can’t work with a digital submission, and this is accounted for. However, wherever possible, the submission should now be digital only – a fantastic win!

What do we do now?

Although this is a huge achievement, this is something that we still need to keep on top of. When modules are still requiring you to submit a physical copy of your assessment, we need to know about it! This is certainly something that you should raise with your academic reps, and myself, so we can ensure that this strategy is implemented!

Jack O'Neill // Vice President Education